Tuesday, 26 June 2012

One All - Only Just

I managed to get to New Brighton yesterday for the Little Swift that has been present in the area since Friday; the bird has been elusive at times and highly mobile - ranging across the New Brighton area with local Swifts and has been seen crossing the Mersey towards Bootle Docks! The vantage point of the water tower gardens on Gorsehill Road (near to the large domed church) has been adopted as Little Swift Central (plenty of Holly Blues here too), which makes sense as it is the highest point in the area, yet the bird sometimes only makes very brief appearances and I put in six hours yesterday and only managed two brief views! The bird was seen to go to roost on the Pier House - a modern apartment set up opposite the coast guard on the promenade on Saturday evening with apparently the residents complaining of the huge amounts of birders aiming lenses up towards their windows (well the bird was roosting on a window ledge), with this in mind the bird may well still be roosting here....worth checking out. Checking photos of the bird it is clear that this is a juvenile from this year, which shows that this must have been a recent arrival, after fledgling in North Africa (or maybe Southern Spain) it has migrated North rather than South! I wonder how long it will take for it to realise? Whilst in the area I couldn't help thinking how many rare Swift species go unchecked in urban Swift colonies, I think we should check over these birds more often.

Last Tuesday evening I attempted to find the male Montagus Harrier that has been giving birders the run around for a while out on the mosses, I set up at the New Causeway at Great Altcar; being the site the bird has most regularly been seen from, but alas after four hours there was no sign, the bird hasn't been seen now for the last few days and the general feeling is that it has departed, however the moss lands of South-West Lancs are vast and the bird could still be around somewhere......fingers crossed! Montagus Harrier aside I did manage to find a good few sightings whilst in the area - Barn Owl, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Buzzards, 3 Kestrels, singing male Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Yellowhammers, 3 Whitethroats, Corn Bunting, 10+ Reed Buntings, and a Brown Hare....... not bad for a few hours birding. On the way home I got off the train at Saint Michael's and walked through Sefton Park where plenty of Pipistrelles could be easily seen right through the park and up Greenbank Lane, where a Fox rounded the night off nicely.

Elsewhere the Little Grebes are again attempting to breed in Sefton Park and the Mute Swan family was down to two chicks after the runt disappeared, the Parakeets in Greenbank Park raised at least one fledgling, on Friday night I was lucky enough to see a vixen Fox out with three cubs on the cricket pitch next to Penny Lane, with another in Greenbank Park, the Blackcap and Chiff Chaff are both still on territory off Penny Lane too.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Greenbank Photos

Apart from the previously published photos of the breeding Ring Necked Parakeets here is a selection of recent breeding species in Greenbank park.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Greenbank Park

Great Spotted Woodpecker (juv) - Greenbank Park

Great Spotted Woodpecker (juv) - Greenbank Park

Great Spotted Woodpecker (juv) - Greenbank Park

Pied Wagtail - Greenbank Park

Stock Dove - Greenbank Park

Mallard - Greenbank Park

Mallard with young - Greenbank Park

Nuthatch - Greenbank Park

Nuthatch (juv) - Greenbank Park

Nuthatch (juv) - Greenbank Park

Mute Swan - Greenbank Park (eggs failed to hatch again)

Moel Famau and Loggerheads

I went for a 12 mile walk in Wales yesterday, a circular route that took in both Loggerheads and Moel Famau, it was a great day and quite rewarding for wildlife in general. Loggerheads Country Park has been a popular and well known site for many of the woodland species for many years; not surprising due to the sites closeness to nearby urban areas such as Liverpool, and it didn't let me down this time with Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Dipper, Spotted Flycatcher, Birds Nest Orchid, Green Flowered Heleborine (not flowering yet) Herb Paris, and Common Lizard all on the reserve; plus a stunning display of Rock Rose on top of the Loggerheads cliffs to end the day. Outside of the reserve on the rest of the walk I found Barn Owl, a Cuckoo ( plus three others heard) being mobbed by Meadow Pipits as it sought out their nest to lay its egg in, Tree Pipits, Garden Warblers, Whitethroat, Buzzards, Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Kestrel, and Common Spotted Orchids. All-in-all a good days birding.

Birds Nest Orchid - Loggerheads Country Park

Common Buzzard - 8
Barn Owl - 1
Cuckoo - 4
Kestrel - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Pied Flycatcher - 3
Redstart - 6
Dipper -1
Garden Warbler - 3
Whitethroat - 1
Tree Pipits - 3
Redpoll - 2
Willow Warbler - 9
Chiff Chaff - 13

Tree Pipit - Moel Famau

Cuckoo - Moel Famau

Summit of Moel Famau looking East

The Eye of the Storm

Raven - Tower of London

Red Crested Pochard - Richmond Park

Egyptian Goose - Richmond Park

Egyptian Goose family - Richmond Park

Green Woodpecker - Richmond Park
Last week we had a family break in London, and very clever as we are, we decided to go during the half term holidays as to avoid the crowds generated from the Olympics, a couple of weeks after booking we realised that are dates in the
capital city matched the jubilee celebrations! Never mind, we had a great time anyway, and I think I may have invented a new Olympic sport of dodging union jacks waved by neurotic royalist morons descended onto the capital from the far flung depths of the commonwealth! Rant over, I did manage to do a bit of birding and the pick of the bunch has to be a Black Redstart I could hear singing around the Tower of London.....but never managed to see the dam thing!                                                 
Pheasants Eye - Wanstead Flats
Other highlights included a couple of Peregrines over the city, and a walk around the Wanstead Flats (East London) came up trumps with a singing Nightingale (again I never saw the bird!), 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebe, 2 Egyptian Geese, Kestrel, 5 Cormorants, Pheasants Eye, and a Roe Deer. We visited Richmond Park which is a fantastic site; an ancient hunting estate set in a huge area of open land festooned with750 year old Oaks, their was something a bit surreal about watching herds of Red and Fallow Deer with the city skyline in the background, apart from the Deers I managed to connect with all three Woodpecker species, with Green Woodpecker especially common in the park, also an unusual Moth species with very long antenna. by far the most common species had to be the Ring Necked Parakeets with at least 350 seen during the day.....maybe Sefton Park in a few years time! The Parakeets certainly must take up nesting sites, yet native hole dwellers such as Starlings, Stock Doves and
Mute Swan family - Richmond Park
Woodpeckers are much in evidence in the park too. On the lakes in the park we found breeding Egyptian Geese, Mute Swans, Pochard, Tufted Duck, and a lone male Red Crested Pochard..... an absolute stonker it has to be said, but the jury's out on the birds wild credentials! A great visit to London for the family and a bit of birding thrown in ..... perfect.
Red Deer - Richmond Park

Red Deer - Richmond Park

Red Deer - Richmond Park

Red Deer - Richmond Park

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Perindod Melangell

I visited the Tanat Valley area of Mid-Wales this week and walked the Perindod Melangell route (about fifteen miles), it proved to be a fantastic route and I only passed one other group of walkers during the whole day! The walk encapsulated a great deal of different habitat including touching on the edge of the Vrynwy RSPB estate, due to this I managed to find a decent selection of birds including; 5 Red Kites, male and female Hen Harrier, Short Eared Owl, 2 Buzzards, 6 Redstarts, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Dipper, 2 Grey Wagtails, Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler, and a few surprises such as Peafowl and Guinefowl! Also a strange fungi(?) of some sort which I have not seen before (any ideas ?). A great route and a great days birding in relatively quiet countryside.

Red Kite - Tanat Valley

Red Kite - Tanat Valley

Red Kite - Tanat Valley


'Japanese' Pheasant - Tanat Valley

House Sparrow - Tanat Valley